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Remembered Today:

Richard Graham HATFIELD


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It's an extremely unusual name, and also the place of Thomas' death is consistent with where Emily was born. Hokitika and Greymouth are about 30 km apart on the West Coast of the South Island in New Zealand. So I think you have the right woman.

 

Interesting that Emily Weir was born before Thomas died. I think the family tree I found said that Robert Weir was born in Scotland, so presumably they met in New Zealand.

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Another bingo. A search of the New Zealand birth records using the surname Fenner brings up four of the children. Arthur Weir Fenner, born 1877, Clara Weir Fenner, born 1878, and Herbet Fenner, born 1880, mother's name is given as Theresa, father's name is not recorded. I can also find Emily, born in 1876, mother's name Tirzah, father's name is given as Thomas Smith.

 

But where is Charles Edward?

 

Edited to add I cannot find his birth on the Internal Affairs website in New Zealand, but Ancestry has the birth of a Charles Edward Fenner in the New Zealand Birth Index, registered in the last quarter of 1881 in Christchurch.

 

My guess is that Robert and Tizrah never married, which is why there is no marriage record for them. Emily was Thomas Smith Fenner's daughter, but the other four were Robert's.

 

Arthur's birth was apparently registered in Christchurch in the third quarter of 1877, so within a couple of month's of Thomas' death.

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Just now, Lindar said:

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This rghoddy is one of my DNA matches !!! But without any real connection until today 👍🥰

1 minute ago, Lindar said:

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This rghoddy is one of my DNA matches !!! But without any real connection until today 👍🥰

I've messaged him😊

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I suspect we've exhausted the New Zealand connection now, but it's nice to know that we were able to eventually pull all the pieces together. The man known as Richard Graham Hatfield was born as Charles Edward Fenner on 12 September 1881 in Christchurch, New Zealand, the son of Robert Weir and Thirzah Ann Fenner nee Prior, who never actually married. Although born as Charles Edward Fenner he seems to have been known as Charles Edward Weir for most of his life in New Zealand. He lived in Christchurch until early 1898, when after obtaining a significant sum of stamps under false pretences, he left the country and made his way to England, where he embarked on another crime spree before finally being apprehended in May 1898. It's not clear what happened in the 12 months between being apprehended in May 1898 and his departure back to New Zealand in July 1899, but on arriving back in New Zealand in September 1899, he was committed for trial at the Christchurch Supreme Court on the original charges that lead to his hurried departure from New Zealand, being sentenced to six months probation in November 1899.

 

He then seems to have settled down and lead a quiet life in first Christchurch, and then Wellington as a bookkeeeper/accountant until at least 1911. At some point he then returned to England, most likely in 1912 as stated by himself, before embarking on another crime spree under a wide range of aliases. This crime spree seems to have extended far and wide across both England and Ireland, before he was finally apprehended again in late 1914, and then sentenced to three year's penal servitude in January 1915. He then appears to have been released from prison early on the condition that he enlisted, which he then did, enlisting in the Royal Garrison Artillery in April 1917 as Richard Graham Hatfield. He then served until being discharged in January 1919. Following discharge he seems to have obtained a position with the Ministry of Munitions as an accountant, and appears to have been living as Raymond Graham Hatfield in Lewisham in 1919.

 

In May 1920 he is found back at his old tricks again, when he is arrested for passing dishonest cheques as Richard/Raymond Graham Hatfield, and is put on the habitual criminal register in 1921. In August 1921 he applies to a charity for ex-Gunners, the Royal Artillery Association, for financial assistance using his real name of Charles Edward Weir, which then results in the Army being asked for confirmation that he served as Richard Graham Hatfield. In the first quarter of 1922, as Raymond Graham Hatfield he marries Mabel Helena Thompson, born in the second quarter of 1888, in Dublin South, Ireland, and they have a son, Edgar J G Hatfield born in the last quarter of 1922. By July 1925, however, Mabel is serving him a summons seeking a separation on the grounds of desertion. In 1928 he meets Menna Roberts, and subsequently has a daughter, Peggy, with her in 1929.

 

What happens after that is unknown, and I'm not sure I'm quite ready for that challenge yet. Laura, I hope that you do make contact with the individual on Ancestry that you messaged, I would note that there is also a private Richard Weir tree on Ancestry that seems to connect with the Weir/Fenner family, so the owner of that tree may well be worth attempting to connect with as well.

 

Craig

 

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9 hours ago, Tawhiri said:

I suspect we've exhausted the New Zealand connection now, but it's nice to know that we were able to eventually pull all the pieces together. The man known as Richard Graham Hatfield was born as Charles Edward Fenner on 12 September 1881 in Christchurch, New Zealand, the son of Robert Weir and Thirzah Ann Fenner nee Prior, who never actually married. Although born as Charles Edward Fenner he seems to have been known as Charles Edward Weir for most of his life in New Zealand. He lived in Christchurch until early 1898, when after obtaining a significant sum of stamps under false pretences, he left the country and made his way to England, where he embarked on another crime spree before finally being apprehended in May 1898. It's not clear what happened in the 12 months between being apprehended in May 1898 and his departure back to New Zealand in July 1899, but on arriving back in New Zealand in September 1899, he was committed for trial at the Christchurch Supreme Court on the original charges that lead to his hurried departure from New Zealand, being sentenced to six months probation in November 1899.

 

He then seems to have settled down and lead a quiet life in first Christchurch, and then Wellington as a bookkeeeper/accountant until at least 1911. At some point he then returned to England, most likely in 1912 as stated by himself, before embarking on another crime spree under a wide range of aliases. This crime spree seems to have extended far and wide across both England and Ireland, before he was finally apprehended again in late 1914, and then sentenced to three year's penal servitude in January 1915. He then appears to have been released from prison early on the condition that he enlisted, which he then did, enlisting in the Royal Garrison Artillery in April 1917 as Richard Graham Hatfield. He then served until being discharged in January 1919. Following discharge he seems to have obtained a position with the Ministry of Munitions as an accountant, and appears to have been living as Raymond Graham Hatfield in Lewisham in 1919.

 

In May 1920 he is found back at his old tricks again, when he is arrested for passing dishonest cheques as Richard/Raymond Graham Hatfield, and is put on the habitual criminal register in 1921. In August 1921 he applies to a charity for ex-Gunners, the Royal Artillery Association, for financial assistance using his real name of Charles Edward Weir, which then results in the Army being asked for confirmation that he served as Richard Graham Hatfield. In the first quarter of 1922, as Raymond Graham Hatfield he marries Mabel Helena Thompson, born in the second quarter of 1888, in Dublin South, Ireland, and they have a son, Edgar J G Hatfield born in the last quarter of 1922. By July 1925, however, Mabel is serving him a summons seeking a separation on the grounds of desertion. In 1928 he meets Menna Roberts, and subsequently has a daughter, Peggy, with her in 1929.

 

What happens after that is unknown, and I'm not sure I'm quite ready for that challenge yet. Laura, I hope that you do make contact with the individual on Ancestry that you messaged, I would note that there is also a private Richard Weir tree on Ancestry that seems to connect with the Weir/Fenner family, so the owner of that tree may well be worth attempting to connect with as well.

 

Craig

 

Craig - I cannot thank you and Andy enough for all your help- you have answered so many important questions🥰. Can I ask how Fenner came into the equation please? Still learning. 

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Excellent summing up Craig, just to add I've found a 1930 death in Brentford for a Charles Weir of the right age.

 

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On the other hand, I have contacted a chap in New Zealand who started a tree for a Richard Graham Hatfield on behalf of a friend. He didn't get anywhere with it ( understandably), but I've asked him if he could follow it up....perhaps Charles returned to New Zealand as RG Hatfield.

 

   Craig could I ask if you can see any post 1929 deaths in NZ for that name?

Andy

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Dai Bach y Sowldiwr

So how did you stumble across Hatfield's name then Lindar?

It's such an amazing story, I assume your grandmother made no reference to him at all?

How was the absence of a grandfather explained during childhood?

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9 minutes ago, Dai Bach y Sowldiwr said:

So how did you stumble across Hatfield's name then Lindar?

It's such an amazing story, I assume your grandmother made no reference to him at all?

How was the absence of a grandfather explained during childhood?

Mum was brought up in a home. Didn't know my grandparents. Wrote to the home for mum's details when she eventually spoke about it after starting with Alzheimers. He was listed as her father! Been searching in ernest since mum passed- then BOOM Andy and  Craig delivered!

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charlie962

Following this thread since the start - what clever research unravelling all those alias's- well done.

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7 minutes ago, charlie962 said:

Following this thread since the start - what clever research unravelling all those alias's- well done.

Absolutely amazing! I'm dumbfounded👍😊

15 hours ago, Tawhiri said:

Another bingo. A search of the New Zealand birth records using the surname Fenner brings up four of the children. Arthur Weir Fenner, born 1877, Clara Weir Fenner, born 1878, and Herbet Fenner, born 1880, mother's name is given as Theresa, father's name is not recorded. I can also find Emily, born in 1876, mother's name Tirzah, father's name is given as Thomas Smith.

 

But where is Charles Edward?

 

Edited to add I cannot find his birth on the Internal Affairs website in New Zealand, but Ancestry has the birth of a Charles Edward Fenner in the New Zealand Birth Index, registered in the last quarter of 1881 in Christchurch.

 

My guess is that Robert and Tizrah never married, which is why there is no marriage record for them. Emily was Thomas Smith Fenner's daughter, but the other four were Robert's.

 

Arthur's birth was apparently registered in Christchurch in the third quarter of 1877, so within a couple of month's of Thomas' death.

Just got the fenner connection duh !

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1 hour ago, sadbrewer said:

Excellent summing up Craig, just to add I've found a 1930 death in Brentford for a Charles Weir of the right age.

 

Screenshot_20200822-090801.jpg

 

On the other hand, I have contacted a chap in New Zealand who started a tree for a Richard Graham Hatfield on behalf of a friend. He didn't get anywhere with it ( understandably), but I've asked him if he could follow it up....perhaps Charles returned to New Zealand as RG Hatfield.

 

   Craig could I ask if you can see any post 1929 deaths in NZ for that name?

Andy

Would be good to hear from him Andy 👍

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I've had a trawl through both the outward bound UK and the inward bound New Zealand passenger lists and there is nothing obvious that jumps out at me for a possible return of Charles to New Zealand either as Weir or Hatfield. Similarly, a look through the New Zealand death records doesn't throw up any obvious candidates for a death, while there are several Charles Weir deaths, none of them are the right age for our man given the year that they died. I did find several Raymond Hatfield's in the London electoral rolls from the late 1940's through to the early 1960's, primarily in Islington, but most of them also had several other Hatfield's of voting age living with them. There were only three entries from 1945 to 1947 that made me look a little closer, which had a Raymond Hatfield living in Maygood House in Maygood Street by himself, but from 1948 onward there is also a Winifred and Allan Hatfield living with him. There is also no obvious match for him in the 1939 England and Wales Register, so I am inclined to think that Andy's candidate for the death of Charles Weir looks pretty positive.  

 

Still a bit frustrated that I cannot find Charles' birth record on the official New Zealand births, marriages, and death website, but as Andy pointed out earlier in this thread, the search function on that site only allows for an exact surname to be entered, so if there has been a transcription error you'll never find them. I suspect the only way forward now would be for someone with access to the microfiche records in a library in New Zealand to sit down and go through them by eye. The 12 September 1881 birth date came from one of the Ancestry family trees I found, but I am fairly confident about the date as it matches the quarter that the New Zealand Birth Index on Ancestry gives, and the birth dates for all the other children in the same tree match the registration quarters in the same index. Interesting though that the tree I found shows them born as Weir, and has no apparent knowledge of Tirzah's previous marriage.

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5 hours ago, Tawhiri said:

I've had a trawl through both the outward bound UK and the inward bound New Zealand passenger lists and there is nothing obvious that jumps out at me for a possible return of Charles to New Zealand either as Weir or Hatfield. Similarly, a look through the New Zealand death records doesn't throw up any obvious candidates for a death, while there are several Charles Weir deaths, none of them are the right age for our man given the year that they died. I did find several Raymond Hatfield's in the London electoral rolls from the late 1940's through to the early 1960's, primarily in Islington, but most of them also had several other Hatfield's of voting age living with them. There were only three entries from 1945 to 1947 that made me look a little closer, which had a Raymond Hatfield living in Maygood House in Maygood Street by himself, but from 1948 onward there is also a Winifred and Allan Hatfield living with him. There is also no obvious match for him in the 1939 England and Wales Register, so I am inclined to think that Andy's candidate for the death of Charles Weir looks pretty positive.  

 

Still a bit frustrated that I cannot find Charles' birth record on the official New Zealand births, marriages, and death website, but as Andy pointed out earlier in this thread, the search function on that site only allows for an exact surname to be entered, so if there has been a transcription error you'll never find them. I suspect the only way forward now would be for someone with access to the microfiche records in a library in New Zealand to sit down and go through them by eye. The 12 September 1881 birth date came from one of the Ancestry family trees I found, but I am fairly confident about the date as it matches the quarter that the New Zealand Birth Index on Ancestry gives, and the birth dates for all the other children in the same tree match the registration quarters in the same index. Interesting though that the tree I found shows them born as Weir, and has no apparent knowledge of Tirzah's previous marriage.

😳

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One last piece of the puzzle, thanks to a couple of very helpful people in the New Zealand forum on RootsChat. Charles Edward Weir's birth was registered as Charley Edward Fermer, so obviously a spelling mistake was made when registering his birth, his mother's name is given as Tirzah, with no father's name recorded. His birth registration number is 1881/12814 on the New Zealand Births, Deaths, & Marriages Online website.

 

Registration Number Family Name Given Name(s) Mother's Given
Name(s)
Father's Given
Name(s)
Still Birth
    1881/12814                        Fermer                   Charley Edward                       Tirzah                           NR         -

 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Tawhiri said:

One last piece of the puzzle, thanks to a couple of very helpful people in the New Zealand forum on RootsChat. Charles Edward Weir's birth was registered as Charley Edward Fermer, so obviously a spelling mistake was made when registering his birth, his mother's name is given as Tirzah, with no father's name recorded. His birth registration number is 1881/12814 on the New Zealand Births, Deaths, & Marriages Online website.

 

Registration Number Family Name Given Name(s) Mother's Given
Name(s)
Father's Given
Name(s)
Still Birth
    1881/12814                        Fermer                   Charley Edward                       Tirzah                           NR         -

 

 

 

 

Oh my gosh thank you🥰

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Arthur Fenner Weir back left

Herbert- his wedding - front left 

Charles ' brothers!😊👍

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Isn't it just! I wonder where Charles was? Herbert Weir married Eileen Brett in 1910, so Charles may well have been in Wellington by then. 

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3 hours ago, sadbrewer said:

What a brilliant result!!

🥰👍

3 hours ago, Tawhiri said:

Isn't it just! I wonder where Charles was? Herbert Weir married Eileen Brett in 1910, so Charles may well have been in Wellington by then. 

👍😁thanks guys x

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I still think there's a secret with Charles- on DNA ancestry- have a connection with the family that sent me this photo- but they are denying it -even though it says we are connected🤨

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What do you think Andy and Craig? See below Charles ' death certificate. 

 

Hope you are both well😊

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My first thoughts on seeing his occupation and the fact that he has a wife called Alice are that this is not our man. Perhaps I should go back and have a closer look at the Raymond Hatfield's that I found in the London electoral rolls from the late 1940's through to the early 1960's.

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Circling back to Raymond Hatfield in the London electoral rolls, from 1945 to 1947, there is a Raymond Hatfield living alone in Islington in apartment 18 in Maygood House. From 1948 onwards Winifred and Allan Hatfield are also on the electoral roll, living at the same address as Raymond. Since they are both on the electoral roll, they must both be of voting age, which at that time was 21. All three of them continue to appear on the electoral roll, living at the same address, until 1960, and then in 1961 the electoral roll shows only Winifred and Alan living at the same address, with no sign of Raymond. 

 

A search through the 1939 England and Wales Register brings up a Winifred Hatfield, born in 1898, living with Edward, born 1923, and Alan, born 1925, in Horsham, Sussex. Winifred is married, but there is no sign of her husband, and the three of them appear to be sharing the address with a family named Ings. Alan would be the right age to be eligible to vote in 1948, when Winifred and Alan first appear on the electoral roll with Raymond.

 

I'm just wondering if I am clutching at straws here, or whether there is something to this? Of course, I also cannot find any trace of a Raymond Hatfield death around 1960/1961. 

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2 hours ago, Tawhiri said:

My first thoughts on seeing his occupation and the fact that he has a wife called Alice are that this is not our man. Perhaps I should go back and have a closer look at the Raymond Hatfield's that I found in the London electoral rolls from the late 1940's through to the early 1960's.

 

At first glance he looks like he married Alice Lock in Paddington in 1906....if so he is definitely not the right man...but at least he's eliminated from the enquiries.

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